Problems We Found In Nashville, TN Drinking Water


**Updated April 27, 2021 to include Nashville's 2020 Consumer Confidence Report. 

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Hydroviv Research Analyst

For Hydroviv’s assessment of Nashville's water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from Metro Water Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The custom water filters that we build and sell to our customers in Nashville, are optimized with this research in mind.

Source Of Nashville Drinking Water

Nashville’s drinking water comes from the Cumberland River, which is treated at both the K.R. Harrington and Omohundro water filtration plants. The Cumberland River has historically been plagued with industrial pollution. The Tennessee River Keepers are in the midst of a lawsuit with 3M, which is a major manufacturer of Per and Polyfluoalkyl Substances (PFAS).

PFAS In Nashville Drinking Water

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or PFAS are a category of chemicals found in various non-stick/stain resistant products, as well as fire fighting foam. PFAS are considered to be "emerging contaminants" because they are not currently regulated by EPA, but are known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and persistent in the environment. PFAS have been detected at the Nashville International Airport. Most municipalities, including Nashville, don't test for or remove PFAS from tap water, and most water filters are not designed to remove PFAS. If you'd like to find water filters that do remove PFAS from drinking water, check out this Duke/NC State study

Lead In Nashville Drinking Water

Lead enters Nashville's tap and drinking water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures put in place by the municipality fail (like what recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Currently, 10% of samples analyzed for lead in Nashville's water are over 1.6 part per billion. Though currently in compliance with federal regulations, EPA and CDC both acknowledge that there is no safe level of lead, and federal regulations do not take into account levels measured at an individual tap. Homes built before 1986 are particularly susceptible to high lead levels. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any taps used to serve children have lead levels no higher than 1 part per billion. Hydroviv Undersink filters are NSF/ANSI certified to remove lead from drinking water.

Update March 2018: Nashville has started testing the taps in their public schools, and are finding very high levels of lead. We wrote a dedicated article on this that can be read HERE.

Chromium 6 In Nashville Drinking Water

Chromium 6 (also known as hexavalent chromium) is a highly toxic metal that is not regulated by the EPA. In recent years, tap water in Nashville has averaged 80.5 parts per trillion for chromium 6. For the sake of perspective, these levels are over 4 times higher than the concentration determined to have negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Nashville Drinking Water

DBPs are a category of emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants react with naturally-occurring organic matter. Although these chemicals are not currently regulated very well, the EPA has admitted that they are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. Nashville's water quality has tested positive for a range of disinfection byproducts including chloroform and bromodichloromethane, both of which are trihalomethanes.

Still Have Questions About Nashville Drinking Water?

Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each customer's water. The contaminants that we list above are what we consider to be major “points of emphasis” that we use to build water filters that are built specifically for Nashville's tap and drinking water, but all of our filters provide broad protection against a wide range of contaminants (including lead).

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